generic vs brand name

Generic Vs. Brand Name: The Shocking Price Difference of the 10 Most Commonly Prescribed Medications

468x60 Discount Medical Supplies

Generic Vs. Brand Name?

This question has very real financial impacts. Always ask your doctor if you can take a generic version instead of the brand name. The savings could be HUGE! We break down the math comparing generic drugs like Linisopril to their brand name counterparts.

Generic Vs. Brand Name: An Expensive Decision
Photo by from Pexels

Here are the 10 most commonly prescribed drugs in the USA, with their brand name, generic name (If there is one) and the cost of each. This pricing is based on data and the discount card. We highly recommend you get this card, or another prescription card, as it can result in HUGE savings on medicine.


Drug Recalls Should Never be Ignored – 5 Simple Ways to Learn About Drug Recalls


A few things before we start looking generic vs brand name prices.

  1. The size of the pill will affect the price, 10mg will be more expensive then 20mg.
  2. The place you get the drug will affect the price, we hope to have some future articles about the best places to get common drugs. Right now all of these prices are based on info from
  3. These prices are based on the cash price if you have insurance the prices will be different, or maybe even zero.
  4. Not all places take drug cards like the prescription card. We’re working on an article about these prescription cards and hope to have it up shortly!

1. Lisinopril

Brand Name(s): Zestril, Prinivil, 5mg tablets
Prices: Zestril ($13.97 / pill ), Prinivil ($1.60 / pill

Generic Name: Lisinopril 5mg tablets
Price: $0.30 / pill

Common Use: Hypertension

These prices are based on a 90 pill bottle. As you can see, there’s massive savings using Lisinopril ($0.30) over the brand name counterparts. Zestril is a 4633% markup.


2. Levothyroxine

Generic Name: Levothyroxine, 0.05mg tablet
Price: $0.315 / tablet

Brand Names: Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid 0.05mg tablets
Prices: Synthroid ($1.02), Levoxyl ($0.91), Unithroid ($0.61)

Common Use: Hypothyroidism

These prices are based on a 90 and 100 tablet bottles. The jump up in price from generic Levothyroxine to brand name isn’t as striking as we saw with Lisinopril, but it’s still at 218% jump from Levothyroixine to Synthroid. Or another way to look at it like a jump from $31.50 to $100.20 for a bottle of 100 tablets. That’s a $70 difference!


3. Atorvastatin

Brand Name(s): Lipitor, 10mg tablets
Prices: $13.97 / tablet

Generic Name: Atorvastatin, 10mg tablets
Price: $0.30 / pill

Common Use: High Cholesterol

It’s ridiculous how much the price jumps up for Atorvastatin’s brandname counterpart Lipitor. You’re looking at a 4,5557% increase to treat a condition that impacts 102 million American adults.


4. Metformin

Brand Name(s): Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glumetza, Fortamet, 500mg tablets

Prices: Glucophage ($2.06 / tablet),
Glucophage XR ($1.14 / tablet), Glumetza ($53.83 / tablet), Fortamet($36.83 / tablet)

Generic Name: Metformin, 500mg tablets
Price: $0.25 / tablet

Common Use: Type II Diabetes

These prices are based off of a 60 or 100 tablet supply with 500mg tablets. As with Lisinopril, it’s striking how much the price can vary and it’s clear that the drug manufacturers are expecting people to have insurance to cover this. The difference between the prices of generic vs. brand name might be the difference between treated and untreated diabetes. If you’re interested in saving money on drugs like Metformin, remember to talk to your doctor about alternatives and not all of these listed drugs may be appropriate for you.

Amazon – Shop Now: Infinity Glucose Monitor

5. Simvastatin

Brand Name(s): Zocor, 5mg tablets
Prices: $3.90 / tablet

Generic Name: Simvastatin, 5mg tablets
Price: $0.55 / tablet

Common Use: High Cholesterol

These prices are based off of a 30 tablet supply. The difference between the generic and brand name prices 609%.


6. Omeprazole

Brand Name(s): Prilosec OTC, 20mg tablets
Prices: $0.93 / capsule

Generic Name: Omeprazole, 20mg tablets
Price: $0.76 / capsule

Common Use: GERD

These prices are based off of a 28 tablet supply. Omeprazole is one of the rare drugs where the brand name price is fairly close to the generic price.


7. Amlodipine

Brand Name(s): Norvasc, 2.5mg tablets
Prices: $6.91 / tablet

Generic Name: Amlodipine, 2.5mg tablets
Price: $0.45 / tablet

Common Uses: Angina, Coronary Artery Disease, Heart Failure

These prices are based off of a 90 tablet supply. The increase in price from the generic vs brand name is 1,435%! Totally ridiculous.


8. Metoprolol

Brand Name(s): Lopressor, 50mg tablets
Prices: $2.49 / tablet

Generic Name: Metoprolol, 50mg tablets
Price: $0.64 / tablet

Common Uses: Angina, Heart Attack

These prices are based on 100 tablet supplies. For what it treats, the jump isn’t as high as what we saw with Amlodipine. Still, going from generic to brand name is a 289% increase!


9. Acetaminophen

Brand Name(s): Tylenol, 325mg tablets
Prices: $0.26/ tablet

Generic Name: Acetaminophen, 325mg tablets
Price: $0.17 / tablet

Common Uses: Fever, Pain

A common drug found in medicine cabinets across the country. These numbers are based on 50 tablet supplies and it’s the first drug on the list that can be obtained without a prescription. The generic vs. brand name price difference is not as striking in this case. 


10. Albuterol

Brand Name(s): Proventil, 6.7g aerosol
Prices: $13.69 / gram

Generic Name: Albuterol, 90mL aerosol
Price: $0.34 / mL

Common Uses: COPD

The comparison here is a little skewed because the units given arn’t the same. If you’re having trouble paying for Proventil, you may want to check out this site for coupons and options.

These are only the 10 most common drugs that we looked at today. If you do find yourself needing one of these very common prescriptions, then take some time to compare the generic vs. brand name prices. Also, make sure to bring it up at your next doctor’s visit – an empowered and assertive patient is the best patient! In future posts we’ll compare pharmacy prices beyond and the best places to get your generic prescriptions filled. 

Hello Uber, The ER Please!

Uber to the ER?

A disturbing trend or a viable option for emergencies? We look at who is using Uber for emergency transport and some of the reasons why they’re doing it.

Remember this blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice.

Why Not Take an Ambulance to the ER?

Uber is definitely not the safest way to get here

Let’s cut to the chase. The main reason people are taking UBER is because it’s really expensive to take an ambulance. Which begs the question… Why is it so expensive to take an ambulance? That’s where the issue gets muddy. Here’s some of the reasons why ambulance bills are so high.

  • Did you know many ambulances are privately owned entities?
  • People without insurance often don’t pay their ambulance bills, so they need to increase rates on the people who do pay in order to make up for it.
  • Health insurance only pays after you meet your deductible.
  • Ambulances use a ton of complicated equipment and are staffed by highly trained EMT’s

So is Uber the Answer?

Photo by from Pexels

Taking an Uber to the ER is like playing Russian Roulette. I don’t recommend it – I can’t recommend it.  But I can see why it’s tempting. A two mile trip in an ambulance might cost $2700. The median income is only $32,000, so that’s more than a month’s salary for the average person. A little fender bender, a ride to the hospital, and suddenly you’ve lost a month’s salary. So, who picks Uber over the ER?

Who Picks Uber?

  • People who aren’t having an emergency. According to this New York Times article, Dr. Anupam Jena recommends that people who aren’t having an emergency don’t call an ambulance. “Ambulances are for emergencies. If you’re not having one, it’s reasonable to consider another form of transportation.”
  • People who simply can’t afford the bill. They say the average household can’t afford a $400 emergency bill. Forget paying a $2,700 one for a 2 mile trip. You might as well rent a nice limo.
  • People who need non-emergency routine trips. Elderly patients and the chronically ill may need routine trips to the hospital. Unless it’s an emergency they often don’t elect to take an ambulance.
  • People who want to make sure they get to THEIR hospital. An ambulance will take you to the closest hospital, not necessarily the hospital you want to go to. If you take an Uber you’ll go exactly to where you want to go.

How do Uber / LYFT / and other ride-share companies feel about this?

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi from Pexels

Officially they don’t like it. has official statements from Uber and Lyft.

“When it comes to medical emergencies, Lyft should not be used as a substitute for emergency transportation. People should be calling 911,” wrote a Lyft spokesperson. Similarly, Uber commented, “Uber is not a substitute for law enforcement of medical professionals. In the event of any medical emergency, we always encourage people to call 911.”

Think about it, it puts the driver and the company both in positions of real liability. If something happened on the way to the hospital and the driver knew it was an emergency, how would it play out for them if things went bad?

Our Thoughts

The cost savings are tempting and sadly, for many, the bill for the ER visit alone might discourage many from seeking help. Ubering to the hospital might not be about being cheap, it might be just about having enough money to pay for the ER visit and this month’s rent. Still, in good conscious we can’t recommend it. It takes medical professionals years of training and experience, along with specialized testing to tell if something like a chest pain is an emergency or not. If something goes wrong in an Ambulance, they have special equipment and the ability to clear traffic to get to the hospital faster – something a ride-share can’t.

At the end of the day, this is your call, and here at Thrifty Patient we fully believe in giving you all the information you need to be an empowered patient.

What are your thoughts on using Uber, LYFT or another rideshare for trips to the Emergency Room? Would you do it yourself? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!